Private Practices: Girls Reading Fiction and Constructing Identity

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Taylor & Francis, 1994 - Literary Criticism - 242 pages
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The study of literacy no longer focuses solely on psychological processes. In the past, literacy has been reconceptualized as a social practice, or rather as social practices which make up daily life. "Private Practices" examines the broad fictional reading of middle class pre-teen girls in ethnographic detail, and describes the place of literacy, both at home and at school, in the construction of gender.; The book provides evidence to support its central assumption: gender is a cultural and social construction, not a biological given. Gender is something people create whilst interacting with each other in all activities of their daily lives, including their literacy activities. The text also provides critical analysis and commentary concerning the role that reading fiction plays in cultural reproduction. In the hope that deeper knowledge of literacy as social practice will support social transformation and eventually social justice, the book suggests reasons for the fact that girls read more fiction and different fiction than boys. "Private Practices" concludes with a discussion of alternative pedagogies that imply more egalitarian values, highlighting the importance of using a cultural lens to create useful perspectives on the problems surrounding literacy and social equality in the 1990S.

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About the author (1994)

Meredith Rogers Cherland is a teacher educator and professor of literacy education at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. She began her career in 1970 teaching elementary school and high school English, and has remained a committed teacher. In 1994 she received the University of Regina's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and in 1997 she was awarded a national Canadian 3M Teaching Fellowship. Dr. Cherland is the author of "Private Practices: Girls Reading Fiction and Constructing Identity," and of many articles on literature teaching, gender and reading, and teaching for social justice.

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